Photo Credit: Trysil via Flickr Creative Commons

While the focus of El Niño has centered around the state of California and its exceedingly historic drought, it looks as though meteorologists are also expecting turbulent winter weather conditions for British Columbia reports Global News Canada.

Erosion, flooding, and warmer than average temperatures are all in the cards for British Columbia and the effects of this year’s El Niño will be apparent from fishing towns to ski towns throughout Canada’s westernmost province. According to 13 researchers from universities and government institutions that were tasked with forecasting the environmental impacts of El Niño on British Columbia’s weather patterns during the upcoming winter, erosion seems to be the main issue at hand. During the strong El Niño of 1997/1998, British Columbia experienced significant erosion that was later followed by a particularly cold and strong La Niña a year after the historic El Niño year of 97/98.

“It’s not just El Niño we should be concerned about. Our research shows that severe coastal erosion and flooding can occur along the British Columbia coast during both El Niño and La Niña storm seasons unlike further south in California. We need to prepare not only for this winter, but also what could follow when La Niña comes.”– Professor Ian Walker at UVIC

Photo Credit: Global News Canada

That said, when La Niña arrived a year after the 97/98 El Niño season, the snowfall totals that year broke records for many locations within British Columbia’s many mountain ranges.

“A lot of people get excited about El Niño and there’s been a lot of hype this year with this extreme El Niño, the Godzilla El Niño or even the Bruce Lee El Niño, but what can we really say here on the west coast? Simply warmer than normal and slightly drier than normal.”– Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada

Photo Credit: NOAA
Photo Credit: NOAA

That said, storms that come off the warmer than normal Pacific are more likely to come in the form of rain rather than snow, which can cause flooding and more erosion during a normal winter season.

However, BC does have the 2016/2017 season to look forward to… La Niña should make it a doozy.

One reply on “How Will El Niño Affect British Columbia?”